Jun 19, 2009
Natya Vidushi Shaila Saldanha Kamat has been working to bring out the latent talents of the poor and middle class children from rural places. Kamat is a multi-faceted talent who has been imparting skills in Bharatnatyam, music, key board, musical instruments, computer etc., to the needy students from the city and surrounding villages, since the last nine years.
Besides getting high marks in Bharatnatyam Junior, Bharatnatyam Senior, Bharatnatyam Vidwat and MA examinations in first class, she has also excelled in academics, having passed SSLC, second PUC etc., in first class and securing the seventh rank from Mangalore University in the final year BA examination.
Francis Saldanha Kamat, father of Shaila saw his daughter gyrating to the music played on television when she was very small and recognized her interest at an early age. He extended courage, support and confidence to his daughter and helped her to emerge as a model for the entire Christian society of Mangalore.
Shaila is the first Christian girl to have got the Vidwat degree from Karnataka University in Bharatnatyam. In the 73 years of existence of Kadri Nritya Vidyanilaya, Shaila is the first Christian student to have pursued Bharatnatyam for 12 years and getting this degree. In the year 2002, Shaila presented a three-hour non-stop dance performance at the city's Town Hall and introduced to the Christians of the city about her abundant talent. She is also the first Bharatnatyam dancer to have attracted over 1,500 Christians to her performance.
In spite of being from a Christian family, Shaila has performed in scores of temples several of which, even many of the Hindu brethren would not have visited. Through Kadri Nritya Vidyanilaya, she has performed at Mumbai, Poona, Sringeri, Mysore, Udupi, Kerala, Nasik, Belgaum and many other places. She not only won the hearts of the people at these places but also won recognition, shields, awards and felicitations. She opened a dance school named 'Nrityangana' near her residence in the year 2,000, in which about 70 students are undergoing training. In Shaktinagar too she has opened dance classes.
Although she is working as a teacher in Cambridge Central School, Neermarga, she continues to take time off her busy schedule, to visit various schools in the city where over 300 children are being given training in dance. At her house, she also conducts key board and computer training classes. Shaila was guided in her illustrious dancing and music education, by the late U S Krishna Rao, Natya Rani Shantala awardee, Vidwan U K Pravin and Usha Pravin. She learnt the key board from Adolph Lobo of Geetanjali.
Shaila gratefully recollects, that Konkani singer Wilfy Rebimbus and sister Marialita of Bethany Convent extended their wholehearted support to her, when she faced financial crunch that threatened to create hurdles for her education. With the financial assistance rendered by these great souls, Shaila could complete her dance examination in first class.
Shaila is a much sought-after teacher for the children who are desirous of learning dancing skills. She has functioned as a judge in various dance competitions. Shaila possibly, is the only girl to have earned the 'Vidwat' degree in Bharatnatyam out of the approximately 4.5 lac people belonging to Christian community who are settled in the region.
Father of Shaila, Francis Saldanha Kamat rues, that the Christian Community is yet to identify the talents of his daughter. While writers, poets, novelists and other talented persons from various fields are being offered felicitations, awards, rewards, financial assistance etc., the Konkani organizations working in the regional, state and international level have not noticed the contributions made by Shaila, he feels.
Shaila, who has erected a stage, an open air theatre and open class room for dance besides key board class room near her house by raising loan from the bank, has been repaying the loan in installments. She and her father want to develop her home into an educational centre, but shortage of funds has been a major hurdle that has been blocking their dreams from becoming a reality. She therefore, has decided to earnestly request the organizations and institutions, both Christian and otherwise, to extend help to her to realize her dreams. She is confident, that these organizations, after realizing the services being rendered by her, will come forward with their helping hands. If the organizations make up their minds to help her, she is confident that her educational institution will earn fame and name in the coming days.
In the present circumstances, so many youngsters have risen to fame by publicizing their talents through various means of communication. Shaila has mastered Bharatnatyam dance form, after engaging in it for the last 16 years. Those who want to contact Shaila may do so at the following address.
Shaila Shiny Home
Near Kelarai Cross Junction
Keliye, Pedamale Post
Mangalore - 575 029
Pho: 2272881 (R), 9481444104 (mob)